Monday, June 11, 2018

Back to West Africa: Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon

On Thursday, I leave for West Africa.  It looks to be a busy trip as it will cover three countries in about four and a half weeks:  Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon.  Our teachings will cover all three of Discipling Marketplace Leaders audiences:  Christian universities/seminaries, Churches, and Businesses.  Our travelling team, who will meet our country teams in each place, will consist of Barbie Odom of Oklahoma, Dr. Walker of California, Rev. Johnson Asare of Nothern Ghana, and myself.  These trips take a great deal of planning and coordination with our in-country partners, and this trip has been in the works for about six months.  It is good to see it coming close.

Our time in Ghana will be primarily with Ghana Christian University, where we will do two two-day workshops with about 100 pastors and church leaders, and then also spend one whole day with the faculty and administrators of the university to help them know how to integrate the idea of "work as worship" into the various departments of the University (Nursing, Theology, Marketing, Management, Business, and Engineering).  We are privileged to have the President of the University very much on board with this - they had been trying to integrate business as mission into their setting but lacked the tools for how to do it.   We are excited to join them.

Our time in Nigeria will be in five different cities:  Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja, Kaduna, and Jos.  We will be conducting two different trainings for businesses (Jos and Ibadan), two two-day trainings for pastors and church leaders (Ibadan and Kaduna), an intro meeting with a new group in Abuja, and follow-up meetings with DML pastors in Lagos.  In addition, we will be teaching classes for the ECWA seminary in Abuja. We do ask for your prayers for safety as we travel from place to place, as the number of kidnappings for ransom in Nigeria continue to be on the rise due to economic hardships.  95% of the kidnappings are of Nigerians, and most of the time a ransom is paid, which fuels more kidnappings.

Our time in Cameroon will be our first foray into this country and we will be starting in the capital of Yaoundé.  We were to start in Cameroon in January but due to conflict there, it was advised that we wait until July.  We have been busy having our materials translated into French.  Cameroon was colonized by the British and the French, resulting in "French Cameroon" and "British Cameroon", although for a time before that the Germans were there, as well as the Portuguese.  French Cameroon became independent in 1961 but British Cameroon waffled between the choices of staying separate, joining Nigeria, or unifying with French Cameroon.  Cameroon became a one party state in 1966, and there has been ongoing clashes between different groups from time to time since then, with the most recent struggles being the English-speaking Cameroonians claiming oppression from the French-speaking Cameroonians.  In 1990, a multi-party system was established.  There are more than 200 ethnic groups in Cameroon, which continues to be a major producer of cocoa and coffee.

The religious affiliations of Cameroon can be seen in the graph.  Cameroon ranks at 153 out of 188 countries on the Human Development Index, and 163 out of 190 countries for the ease of doing business, according to the World Bank.  So there are lots of challenges, or as we like to say more appropriately, lots of opportunities in Cameroon.

We look forward to seeing what God will do in our travels as we seek to join Him in His work.  We covet your prayers!